Why, as a humanitarian, is it so hard to consider a professional change? Are you aware of the main resistances to professional change that are directly linked to your life as a humanitarian?
If you’re considering a professional transition (whether desired or imposed by circumstances), there’s a good chance you’ll encounter resistances. These resistances (whether conscious or unconscious) may be preventing you from initiating a concrete start on this professional change.
Do you have any idea what this resistance might be?
5 resistances to professional change, directly linked to your life as a humanitarian.
I’m not talking here about the resistances that all people face when they want to initiate change. I’m talking here about those that are directly linked to your life as a humanitarian!
As a humanitarian, when faced with a professional change, what lies behind your resistances is that you’re going to have to :
1. Re-learn how to be proactive.
During your years in the humanitarian field, in terms of your career, you were reactive rather than proactive! I’m sure that most of the time, it was HR who offered you a job, not you who was proactive! Above all, you’ve accepted positions to fill operational needs. In the humanitarian sector, that’s the game, and we all know it! Under these conditions, you’ve certainly not defined your career goals, but rather let yourself be carried along by the current, making a fair number of concessions while accepting, I hope, a few good opportunities too!
👉 Today you have to relearn pro-activity: take back the reins of your career, become the driving force, the initiator of change, clarify what you want, define your own career goals… and this is totally new for you!
2. Leave a way of life behind you.
When you work in the humanitarian sector, you adopt a very particular lifestyle, especially if you’re in the field. This lifestyle includes regular changes of country, position, bosses, colleagues, professional, social and personal environments. It also often means not choosing your accommodation, or the colleagues you’ll be living with, and accepting that the line between professional and personal life is very thin. You may find yourself living in high-risk environments, with restricted leisure activities. A way of life that’s also full of novelties, discoveries and enriching encounters.
👉 When you consider a career change, it has an impact not only on your professional sphere, but above all on the way you live your life… and that in itself is a huge transition!
3. Break with an important part of your identity.
As a humanitarian, your work is an integral part of your identity! It’s not just a job, it’s a commitment! Over the years, it takes up an enormous amount of space in your life and becomes an integral part of you! It gives meaning to your life, both professional and personal! So much so, that among humanitarians, you feel part of a tribe, you understand each other, you recognize each other, you feel part of a unique community!
👉 If you’re thinking of leaving the humanitarian sector, you’re going to have to break away from a large part of your identity, not only professional, but probably social and personal as well… and you’re going to have to ask yourself questions like “How do I define myself without this part of me, in my own eyes and in the eyes of others?”
4. Choose a new dream.
If you’re like many humanitarians, by working in this sector or in your current organization, you’re fulfilling a long-held dream! Which makes the question of what else to do all the more complicated!
👉 When the time comes to consider a change, it’s a dream you have to let go of! And as a humanitarian I met recently put it so nicely: “I’ve achieved my dream, maybe it’s time to choose a new one?”
5. Find a job that’s just as meaningful.
I’m sure that, even if you’re currently facing some disillusions, you’re still convinced that humanitarian work is meaningful. It’s probably an important value for you! You feel the need to make a positive impact in your professional and personal life!
👉 When you leave the humanitarian field, you find yourself having to identify those other professional activities that, in your eyes, are full of meaning and would enable you to have a positive impact on the world… with the need to redefine what your life mission is today!
Resistances that makes the transitions in your life as a humanitarian more complex.
In my opinion, these are the 5 main resistances to change, which are directly linked to your life as a humanitarian. You will need to:
- Re-learne pro-activity.
- Leave a way of life.
- Break with an important part of your identity.
- Choose a new dream.
- Find an activity with as much meaning.
Do they make sense to you? Do you feel that any of them are relevant to you? Have you identified others that are linked to your life as a humanitarian?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does highlight why it is sometimes so difficult to consider a professional change as a humanitarian. And that’s why career transitions for humanitarians are so challenging.
Being aware of your own resistances is already an important step forward. It’s what’s going to enable you to help you initiate the professional change you’re facing today.
What do you think? Does it speak to you?
Don’t hesitate to comment! And if you’d like to talk about it, contact me for a discovery session.